Saturday, March 19, 2011

El Watan, my Friend


Four years of living alone in Iraq, three years and three months in Baghdad, and eight months in Mosul, had left its effect in me that’s for sure. Reached Algeria in last august I was, and still to a degree, highly cautious, and a little bit paranoid. I noticed that cats are not afraid in Algeria in big big contrast to the case in Iraq where cats run away terrified from any human being figure. Here, they march relaxed, and even be friendly to you. I was more fearful from cats God damn it. Feeling so alone and helpless walking in a street "Le Petit Prince" cartoon of Le Hic, in El-Watan journal caught my attention. I bought that issue of El-Watan and managed to read it with the help of the aid of a pocket French-Arabic dictionary. "Dessine-moi un couteau" would be translated to "draw me a knife". A sheep in the planet with the prince, and this cartoon appeared in the first day of Aid El Adha. I wondered if solving the symbol is this easy to the other readers cause I didn't understand the whole symbol. In book stores I usually find few books but "Le Petit Prince" is commonly there in many editions and publications. I read the novel and understood the cartoon.

The music is of the Algerian musician Mohamed Rouane, the piece is entitled "Sebrinel" from the Album "Reve". All the picture are for El-Watan papers (except the one about the paramedical intersyndicates which was from Algerie-News, anther good newspaper, Emir Abd El-Kader from Liberte, a good journal also, while Kateb Yacine's and Setif picture taken from various sites form the net, and of course the two pictures of the cover of my copybook, one in the beginning, the third picture in the film, and the last picture in the film at the end.

I kept buying El-Watan to find in one issue that Saint-Exupery had written part of his masterpiece in Alger. I took El-Watan more seriously and bought a big copybook and started my El-Watan encyclopedia.

Lessons of Algerian history, art, and literature were given to me most elegantly and cleverly. El-Watan is a journal that respect its reader.
Wikileaks started, Le Hic clever cartoons was an amusement. It shocked me how franc the cartoons were, how clever.


One day I knew about an Algerian psychiatrist named Said Sadi who lead a party that is not so popular, and that it called for a peaceful march every Saturday in Algeria calling for some changes. The psychiatrist mounted over the roof of a police car. Le Hic came again with that clever cartoon in which Said Sadi is saying: "No person can reach above my ankle".
Rachid Boudjedra, whose writing I adore, adviced against the demonstrations and explained why in a long clear article. A cartoonist named Saad came with a cartoon against the governmental inhibition of the march in Alger the capital in which the protester is jumping holding the tablet in which he wrote: "je ne marche pas, je saute" (="I do not march, I jump").
Le Hic is always a master in cartooning so, just see his cartoon. Students made some kind of association, paramedical workers united in one syndicate, still, El-Watan, the realistic and the respecting to its readers, made a file on Setif Hospital, but it was gloomy.


Lessons of history and art continued. Issiakhem, the painter, and his loss of one of his arms in childhood, and his ambiguous relation to his mother came in a wonderful rich deep dossier.
Pierre Rabhi, a specialist in botany, talks in a book about the disadvantages of "Propaganda" in its invention for the human kind new needs that we don't really need, and about our neglection to plants. He tour around the world and talk about his ideas. Such a nice subject to read.
Phoenicians, and their relation to Algeria, and their how they found that sand, under the fire, is crystallizing over time, and hence discovered glass.


Freres Lumiere and the first cinema show in Alger and Oran in 1896.
El-Watan articles, were getting more easy and wonderful to read as my French language was getting better and better, Alger history, Sahara, Skikda and the bowing tress, Tipaza and its roman heritage.

Beauty over beauty I discovered more and more with another cartoonist named Zino and the cartoon about Chibanis (old north African men) and their life between France and Algeria, one Chibani says to the other: "if I stay in France my retirement salary will not be enough to buy my cigarettes, if I stay in Algeria more than a month they cut my retirement here", what a dilemma.
Notre Dame D'Afrique history in Alger, then another day a dossier on authorized brothels in Algeria and their history, with the history of a famous prostitute.

Farhat Abbas and why he was against the timing of the Algerian revolution and its methods, but finally he aided in it.

And of course, Emir Abd El-Kader.

Seven months already in Algeria, jobless and friendless but, El-Watan has found its place in my heart, and the copybook will be always open to receive these Algerian treasures.


Laura said...

Hang in there, Sami. Someone with a heart like yours will not be friendless (or jobless) forever. Things will get better, pal.

saminkie said...

Thanks Laura for the sweet comment and compliment. Thanks for the net that I can meet friends like you allover the world. Yes, things got to go better friend.

Much love and respect,

tracy said...

My Dear Sadeek,
i am so sorry you are so alone. i wish i could visit you and we could drink tea and talk and talk and will find friends...maybe even a kitty cat!

Your Sadeeka,

PS i have a blog. It isn't very good, though.